What a week we've had as a major hurricane has skimmed the shores of Florida and as I write, it is taking aim on Charleston with flooding rain. Instead of the sudden major destruction of a direct hit we've seen with most hurricanes, this one has given days of anxiety from anticipation and then... storms. One of the Weather Channel meteorologists said it was as if Florida's coastline experienced hours upon hours of a severe thunderstorm.
A few days ago, I listened to an interview with people getting ready to leave the northern part of Florida. They were talking about the gas stations beginning to run out of gas and store shelves were becoming empty within thirty minutes of the mandatory evacuation order. Thirty. Minutes.
Whenever I view what is going on in a disaster area where there has been plenty of warning, I never cease to be amazed at human nature. That tendency to wait until the last minute to purchase what will be necessary.
That is why preparing a little at a time is the best way to go if you are on a limited budget, in case you do not have the ability to purchase anything at the time of an emergency.
It got me thinking that I'm not going to be apologetic at all about believing one should be prepared for worst case scenarios. For most disasters do not form in the ocean and give us days to anticipate. Most disasters happen suddenly.
Wishing nothing happens nor hoping nothing happens nor even praying nothing happens does not guarantee that nothing will happen. We live in a fallen world. The area I live in has been hit by numerous tornadoes. I'm told that a tornado even went through the forest next to me years ago. You may remember that our house was hit by lightening when the sun was shining! The storm was close to the high school, not over us.
All that to say... we need to be serious about being prepared for a few different scenarios.
Get out of Dodge
For those outside the U.S., that saying came out of the American Wild Western days. It means that there comes a time when we have to leave and immediately. Rarely these days would that be due to outlaws with six shooters walking down a dirt street but we have our 21st century version shown in the news.
Think through what you want to have ready to grab and go if given a few minutes. If not original documents, then at least having copies of documents would make them easier to replace if necessary. A list of important phone numbers is necessary these days in the age of pushing a button on a cell phone. I couldn't tell you my daughter's phone number if my life depended on it. She is button #3 (and that does not mean third place in my affection).
Have important photo albums in one place, easy to locate when you are in a hurry. Know where your kitty carrier, dog leash, etc. is and have them always ready. At the very least, you won't have to clean the carrier before your next visit to the veterinarian. When our house was hit by lightening, I knew our kitty carrier was in the garage but my husband had stored it so I didn't know where in the garage. Have you ever held onto a cat while vehicles with sirens were at your house?
You can do an online search of "grab and go" bags but I warn you that some lists are so long you would have to take out a second mortgage on your house. At the very least, besides water you will have food like trail mix, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, and other items which do not require cooking. If you have a pet, you will need a container of extra food. Have a set time on your calendar to begin purchasing these items again and rotate the old with the new. Enjoy your snacks.
You will need flashlights, at least a large one and a small one. You will need a small battery operated radio or some other way to receive news. If you don't plan on using the radio outside of an emergency, then store a package of the kind of batteries it uses separately from the radio itself to prevent rust, etc. Believe me... I know from experience.
An actual emergency radio would be great. It can be stored next to the bag (or bags if you have a large family) and used during times of weather emergencies even if you stay home. Having a way to purify water would be a very wise investment.
After the basics, you will need to add what is important in your family. For instance, I would grab medication and insulin while young families need to keep a package of diapers and baby wipes on hand. Actually, baby wipes would be helpful for everybody. Lots of information is available elsewhere to decide what you would need but at the least... buy an inexpensive bag at the thrift shop (if you don't have one) and fill it with the very inexpensive basics.
I will say this... when there is even the remotest possibility of danger then you need to fill your vehicles up with gas and make a trip to the grocery store for last minute purchases BEFORE everyone else takes it seriously.
Short Term Stay at Home and Hunker Down
I'd follow the same instructions as above in case you would need to leave home quickly. But for most of us, staying at home if it is at all possible would be what we would desire in an emergency situation. I can totally understand why people wait until the last minute to leave if a hurricane is coming, even though by doing so it puts your life in danger (so I would leave earlier... but I get it).
This would be the scenario most of us either have or may experience. Sometimes we have a warning, such as when a possible winter storm is on the way. But we have seen scenarios such as a terrorist attack or out of control protesters which have caused police to tell people to stay at home. We say it can't happen to us but I'm sure that is what people thought in Boston and other lovely cities.
I have ten years worth of information about stocking up on this blog and there are plenty of places online for information these days. There are far more now than there were before Y2k! Most importantly I would say this... make a list or two or three. Your list/s. You can look at someone's list for reminders but don't think you have to go into debt for a whole lot of supplies and food.
I am certain that is part of what causes people to put off stocking up, they get overwhelmed by suggestions of "essentials".
Make a list of absolute basic necessities if you haven't already. For instance, for food it can be as simple as the suggestions for the food in the grab and go bag. Then think of easy foods to cook should you have a way to actually cook food. They don't need to be expensive... rice, pasta, pasta sauce, salsa, various soups, etc. don't cost a lot for a simple stock up and if these are foods you eat in your everyday diet, it will be easy to rotate.
Always having extra of what you need for baking is a pantry basic. For you can purchase on sale (or at least at the store where you can get the best price) and stock up at sale prices. I would also suggest some comfort foods hidden in a safe place to bring out when needed... and I'm not talking about your 10:00 pm cravings.
It is possible to have at least one month's worth of very basic food supplies, TP, etc. put back on a budget. Most families have this much and don't realize it if they have even a small well stocked pantry and a full freezer.
A Long Term Need to Stay In Place
This type of scenario doesn't happen often but it is not out of the realm of imagination. This kind of stocking up requires being organized and some serious thinking through of what is required in a very deep pantry.
Everyone I know who have had (or currently has) a very deep pantry does so because they believe it is by God's leading and He has provided for them to do so. I have had friends over the years who built up quite a deep pantry just a little at a time and they purchase only what their family uses in their day-to-day meals.
I know of others who keep a fairly small pantry but make it a priority to deepen it as they bring in extra income. If you believe God is calling you to have a deeper pantry and it is not out of fear... He will provide. When my pantry is looking like Mother Hubbard's, I have always been amazed at His provision.
Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Foods
There are a lot of various freeze dried and dehydrated foods available today. I have some Mountain House pouches like those used by backpackers for our grab and go foods and they are good. I bought a few with Amazon credit and tried them before replacing the meals we liked. Each pouch has a Use By Date approx. 2026.
If you don't need to use Amazon credit to purchase these products, do a web search of "Mountain High" and I've seen on Amazon comments that you can find sales that way. I find the prices on Amazon Mountain High pouches comparable to what I've seen at a couple stores that sold them for hunters, hikers, etc. They are lightweight and easy to store in the grab and go bag... and can be used if one stays at home in an emergency.
I have a small bucket of dried eggs and a few cans of dried milk. The milk is only good for two years so it needs to be rotated but I use the "one year left cans" to make hot chocolate mix at Christmas for gifts. I replace the milk throughout the year. We don't use a lot of milk but we do both like cream in our coffee.
Hmmm... coffee. THE storage priority. And tea.
I know this is not in-depth but instead it is an overall post sparked by this past week's hurricane. The various scenarios will be covered more in future posts as needed. I truly believe we need to take seriously the possibility that there will come a time we will be glad we took deepening our pantry seriously.
I was asked the websites where I read people warning of possible disruptions before the election. With everything happening, those links were no longer up and I read so many each day that I couldn't remember specifics.
Here are a few places I go from time to time for news links (they are conservative):
Stan and Holly Deyo's website... here. This is the one place I go each weekday. Holly has finished writing her latest book and is once again providing news links Monday - Friday. Yeah! I've known Stan and Holly since the 90's and they are good, reputable people.
While you are at their website, Holly's book Dare to Prepare is my absolute favorite preparedness book. My copy is and old edition but it is extremely valuable to me as it was a gift from Holly and has a very nice inscription. I highly recommend that book, it is pricey but that is because it is huge and in-depth. Their website also has plenty of free preparedness advice, too.
CBN News... here. News from a Christian perspective. CBN decided a long time ago to make news "from a Christian perspective" a priority and they have their own reporters around the world and in Washington. I've appreciated their updates for years.
Charisma News... here. News from a Christian perspective. This is a recent bookmark but each website has their own interesting links so it is worthwhile. I've heard it is good.
I have more that I link to from their Facebook updates. I'll write them down this week as I think of them. I get Fox News updates through emails but I also watch from time to time the BBC and PBS news (which are not conservative). Other than our local news, I rarely watch evening news on ABC, CBS, or NBC... and then only for something like hurricane coverage.
Okay, I've had a lot of you write and ask what radio programs I listen to. I've been hesitant to recommend any because my preference for limited listening time is some very alternative options.
I'd say Tru News is the one I listen to the most and then only when I see what the subject matter is about on the Tru News app. Their website is... here. Rick Wiles has been around since the late 90s and he knows a lot of people so there are interesting guests who are experts on everything from the economy to the Middle East.
But I will clarify here that I do not agree with him on some of his opinions. If you don't like conspiracy theories... stay away. If, like me, you don't mind cutting through conspiracy theories to find out the truth of what is going on around the world, you will find him interesting. If you are the nervous sort... don't listen. At least not before you go to bed.
If you like someone milder, I love Janet Parshall, who has a daily show on the Moody radio Channel. Info... here. She reminds me of a very well informed funny good friend and while I don't get a chance to listen to her every day, when I do it is enjoyable.
So there are some of the links and programs you have asked for. I give a few of them with trepidation... I'll add more as they come to my attention again.